Winter habitat partitioning between Asiatic ibex and Blue sheep in Ladakh, Northern India

T. Namgail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Asiatic ibex Capra ibex sibrica and blue sheep Pseudois nayaur are the most abundant wild ungulates in the Ladakh Region of the Indian Trans-Himalaya. Both species use rugged terrain to escape predation, and the competitive exclusion principle suggests that the distribution of one species may be affected by the presence of the other. I evaluated habitat use by these mountain ungulates in the Shun Gorge, at the eastern boundary of ibex distribution in the Zangskar Mountains, Ladakh, India. I hypothesised that due to their high affinity toward cliffs as a predator escape strategy, ibex and blue sheep overlap in their habitat use, especially in winter when they are likely to be confined by snow cover. Resource selection indices and chi-square statistics revealed that both ibex and blue sheep prefer habitat close (1-50 m) to cliffs. The two species were also similar in their use of habitat in terms of slope angle, except that ibex avoided gentle slopes (45°). Both used habitats in terms of elevation and snow cover non-selectively except that blue sheep avoided very low areas (
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
JournalJournal of mountain ecology
Volume8
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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